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On the heels of a lackluster performance in front of the boo-birding home crowd in Denver, Carmelo Anthony responded to media questions about some kind of looming trade by pretending he has no idea what anyone is talking about in a world such as this. The general rule of thumb is: if you repeat your answer to a question five times, it's a lot like clicking your heels three times and saying, "there's no place like home."

Via NBA FanHouse:

Asked if Sunday's 96-87 loss to New Orleans at the Pepsi Center was his last game with Denver due to numerous reports about a possible imminent exit, the forward said, "Not at all. Not at all. Not at all. Not at all. Just not at all.'' [...]

"I haven't heard anything on that,'' Anthony said. "It's just been speculation as of right now. Masai (Ujiri, Denver's executive vice president of basketball operations) and Josh (Kroenke, the Nuggets president) are not even here (at Sunday's game). So I don't see that happening.' [...]

This week?

"No,'' Anthony said.

Of course, Anthony is not going to confirm any trade rumors to the press in the event this thing folds like it did in September. However, at this point, I'm not entirely convinced 'Melo ain't lying.

Earlier in the evening we read various sources that said a deal was close, in the [MF] Red Zone to be exact. I thought if a deal was close, then the reports would check out during Sunday night's game against the Hornets, but everyone who is supposed to be involved in this deal was in the lineup. That may have been so Denver could field a team given some of their injuries, but supplement it with the mid-game surfacing news that a deal wouldn't happen tonight and Denver wants to reevaluate the players involved, I no longer feel confident this thing's going to get done.

Not at all.

'Melo really doesn't want to play for the Nets, or so it seems. His people on the other hand appear dead-set on getting their main client paid before the deadline, so they too can cash in. 'Melo obviously benefits more from getting an extension now, but it's very realistic that a deal now is more important to everyone else around him.

The Nuggets want to get something for him before he walks; his agent Leon Rose wants to get the most money for his client, so he can collect from his client; and the Nets want Anthony for their Russian empire. 'Melo simply wants to be a Knick. I mean, it was just last month when 'Melo said inking an extension hinges on a trade to New York. For somebody who doesn't want to risk free agency and a new labor agreement that could cost him tens of millions of dollars, he has really limited his options, while acting super coy -- almost too coy -- about potential deals that will not make him a Knick.

I wish I could make a cake out of rainbows and smiles that we'd all eat and be happy, but all I feel like doing is crying my way to the bottom of a tub of ice cream. I hope I'm very wrong in my current state, but I'm afraid of waking up in a few hours and seeing the words "Not at all" answering my question, "Did/will Rip get traded with 'Melo to the Nets?" Of course, it will be complemented by a clown in an Oliver Miller jersey who is pointing and laughing at me. That, or the Twitter fail whale. It doesn't mean I won't dream for some cute arboreal mammals.